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OSCE observers say they have access to Malaysian Boeing crash site in eastern Ukraine

Representatives of the special mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ukraine do have access to the crash site of a Malaysian Boeing-777 in eastern Ukraine, a representative of the mission, Michael Bochurkiv, said on Sunday.

Earlier, the U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed concern over the alleged failure of OSCE observers to reach the crash site.

Bochurkiv however said that the OSCE observers were accompanied by armed guards to the town of Torez located in the vicinity of the crash site. While in the town, they visited a railway station where there were 3-4 refrigerator railroad cars used to keep the bodies of the crash victims. He added however that due to objective reasons it was impossible to say accurately how many dead bodied had been found.

Earlier Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Borodai denied some media reports that observers from the OSCE were not permitted to come to the crash site of the Malaysian Boeing passenger airliner.

"This is an element of information war against us," he said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station, noting that "Fourteen OSCE observers have been working at the airliner's crash site already for three days. In fact, on the first day they faced some restrictions in their movement. But we explained this by a very simple fact: we are responsible for their security, just for relative guarantees of security."

"The air disaster area is very big and exceeds more than ten square metres," Borodai added, noting that "When they entered the zone, which is precisely in sight of Ukrainian machine guns, patrolmen stopped them [OSCE observers]. They proposed to them [OSCE observers] not to go there for one simple reason that if they had come under Ukrainian machine gun fire, responsibility would be shouldered on us."

Now OSCE observers are working in the town of Torez, east Ukraine's Donetsk region, where the bodies of air crash victims had been brought since Saturday evening, the Donetsk republican prime minister said.

Militias had to start collecting the bodies of casualties, because no one did this work that is impermissible amid 30-degree heat spell, Borodai added.

"Four Ukrainian experts who came immediately with OSCE observers dealt only with technical details, but not the bodies of air crash victims and debris of the airliner," he noted, adding that "But other experts, including those who should identify casualties and conduct other procedures with casualties cannot come here yet..."

Borodai confirmed that a total 196 bodies of casualties had been picked up and have been brought in refrigerated railroad cars.

"The group of OSCE observers is staying near these refrigerated railroad cars," he noted.

A Boeing-777 of the Malaysian Airlines en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed in July 17 in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Region 60 km from the Russian border, in the zone of combat operation between the Donetsk self-defence forces and the Ukrainian army. All the passengers and crewmembers onboard the plane - 298 people - died. Travelling aboard the plane were citizens of ten countries, including 192 Dutchmen and 10 British nationals.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 20Jul14]

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